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Vintage Bulova Accutron Commercials

“A strange feeling of certainty seems to come over Accutron owners…”

It’s easy to take for granted now but the Bulova Accutron technology with its humming tuning fork once represented the state of the art in watch technology for a short while before the era of widespread inexpensive quartz watches.

Even after quartz technologies had emerged it for a short while it seemed that these tuning fork electrics might be the wave of the future, especially before developments in solid state integrated circuits made mass produced quartz watches commercially viable. Omega even invested heavily in the technology, introducing lines like the f300 series and the Speedsonic electronic tuning fork chronograph, developments that otherwise almost seem ill-founded in retrospect. Indeed, by the time it was introduced the Speedsonic tuning fork chronograph was arguably obsolete the day it was introduced, though this was perhaps not nearly so apparent when its development began.

The tuning fork technology was a significant leap forward in watch technology in its day, and unlike previous electric watches like those by Hamilton that still powered a swinging balance wheel and made little improvement in accuracy, the tuning fork movements were guaranteed to a precision within 60 seconds a month, so about 2 sec/day on average. Pretty notable when you consider that even modern mechanical chronometer-certified movements are still only guaranteed to perform within -4/+6 sec/day.

The $125 pricing for the entry level models was nothing to sneeze at either and works out to about $905 in 2009 dollars adjusted using Consumer Price Index inflation adjustment. This would have been a significant purchase when inexpensive Timexes were usually priced at around one tenth the price in the contemporary era.

Posted in Vintage Watches.

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  1. Speedmaster says

    Cool find!

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